Central Michigan Men's Basketball 2015 NIT Tournament Capsule

Central Michigan Chippewas
Mid-American (23-8, 12-6)


Year three of the Coach Keno Davis era saw a massive breakthrough. Central Michigan went from a team that won three MAC games to a team that won the conference title. It is basically that same team that struggled so much last year, but a year older and a year longer in Coach Davis’ system made all of the difference. The Chippewas had a pretty easy non-conference schedule, but they beat everybody they should have and picked up a win at Northwestern too.

Big Wins: 12/17 at Northwestern (80-67), 1/6 at Toledo (65-62), 2/14 at Buffalo (75-74)
Bad Losses: 12/2 at Bradley (73-84), 1/10 at Ball State (65-83), 2/28 at Northern Illinois (55-73)
Coach: Keno Davis

Why They Can Surprise:
What this team does is shoot three’s and take care of the ball. That may not always result in sustained tournament success, but it is a great recipe for pulling off an upset on any given day. When the shots are falling, Central Michigan can beat anybody. The impressive shooting starts with junior forward John Simons. The 6-8 forward connects on nearly three long balls per game. With his size and shooting ability, he is a nightmare for most teams to defend. The shooting certainly does not end with Simons though.  Both Braylon Rayson and John Kozinski are prolific from beyond the arc as well and absolutely everybody else on the roster is at least a threat to shoot and that includes leading scorer Chris Fowler. He has not had the most consistent shooting season, but Fowler is the one player who is comfortable and effective driving to the basket. When Fowler is not finishing himself, he is finding one of his teammates. The emergence of Rayshawn Simmons has given the Chips two very good ball handlers in the backcourt.

Why They Can Disappoint:
As is often the case with a team that attempts so many three-pointers, when their shots are not falling, this team is not winning. In all seven of their regular season losses, Central Michigan shot 33 percent or less from beyond the arc, well below their season average that is closer to 40 percent. As the competition gets tougher in the postseason, CMU will need to get some more stops too and that is when the pressure will be on 6-11, 221 pound freshman Luke Meyer to fend off opposing big men and not allow too many easy buckets.

Probable Starters:
Chris Fowler, Junior, Guard, 16.0 ppg, 6.1 apg
Rayshawn Simmons, Junior, Guard, 8.8 ppg, 4.1 apg
Braylon Rayson, Sophomore, Guard, 10.7 ppg, 1.0 apg
John Simons, Junior, Forward, 12.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Luke Meyer, Freshman, Forward, 5.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Blake Hibbitts, Junior, Forward, 3.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg
John Kozinski, Freshman, Guard, 7.5 ppg
Austin Stewart, Junior, Guard, 5.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.1 (16th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.0 (185, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.7 (45, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.9 (221, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 10.3 (3, 1)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.7 (57, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.1 (71, 4)
Rebound Margin: 0.9 (157, 7)
Assists Per Game: 14.2 (66, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.4 (15, 1)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2003    NCAA    First Round win over Creighton
2003    NCAA    Second Round loss to Duke

*all team stats through 3/8


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules